tv QA with Michael Doran CSPAN April 3, 2017 5:52am-6:50am EDT
♪ >> live at 10:00 a.m. eastern on c-span 2. c-span where history unfolds daily. in 1979, c-span was created as a public service by america's cable television companies. and it's brought to you today by its cable or satellite provider. >> coming up next, q&a with author and hudson institute senior fellow michael durend.
then at 7:00 worl is live with your phone calls and today's headlines. announcer: this week on "q&a," hudson institute senior fellow michael durand, talking about his book "ike's gamble." he discusses his book. brian: michael durand, what is ike's gamble? michael: first of all, it is the title of my book. the gamble was a decision by eisenhower in the 1950's in dealing with the middle east to tilt away from his traditional allies, britain and france and israel, and towards the rising nationalist in the region, particularly egypt. israel, and towards the rising ationalist in the region, brian: how old was he at this point?
michael: nasser was only in his 40's at this point. he was very young. brian: you talk a lot about winston churchill. how was he at this time? michael: churchill was approaching 80, and britain was still the dominant power in the middle east. it was everywhere in decline. nationalists were rising up. the big strategic question the u.s. faced was, should it support britain against the rising nationalists, or try to reate a new order? brian: i want to put up on the screen a map of that area back in 1956. when you look at that, and are going to explain the person that hasn't been thinking about this for years, what would you want them to know? michael: when eisenhower came into office, there were 80,000 british troops in the suez anal zone. the zone was euphemistically
called the suez base, but it was really a whole string of bases for the british, and the nerve center of their military position in the middle east and east africa. nerve center of their military those troops were surrounded by egyptians who were carrying out a low-level guerrilla war against them. the egyptians, the minute eisenhower came to power, they escalated that war in order to force the americans to make a decision between egypt and the british. those troops were surrounded by at the same time, there is a conflict going on simmering between israel and all of the surrounding area of states led -- surrounding arab states led by egypt. the conflict of those two issues, the israel question and the british question, increased that feeling that eisenhower had of being caught in the middle between rising nationalism. he thought nationalism was going to be the wave of the future. and his ties to his traditional allies, the british and the israelis. brian: what led you to write this book?
michael: that is an interesting question. i started thinking about it when i was working in the white house. i worked in the george w. bush white house. i was the senior director at the national security council, responsible for the middle east. i noticed certain ideas were welling up in the administration about the place of the arab-israeli conflict and our overall strategy in the middle east. i disagreed that the palestine question, the israel question is the central issue. this is a recurring theme in our work foreign policy, that arabs and muslims are reacting to the united states according to what we do toward the arab-israeli conflict. this was welling up in the george w. bush white house. there were significant personalities who believed to this, and i had the exact opposite view. i started wondering, this keeps recurring.
i knew something of the history. i've been a professor before. i thought, i'm going to go back to the beginning and look at it. i started doing some deep research after i got out of the white house on the eisenhower period, and i got fascinated with eisenhower and the way his views on this issue changed. brian: how did you go about it? michael: i researched in the british archives, the u.s. archives, and a little bit in the israeli archives. brian: so you started the book, what year would it be when you were doing the research? michael: i hate to tell you this, because it was a long time in making. i started in 2009. brian: let's get a feel for what it was like in 1956 and the suez crisis. here's some video from the new service back then, it is only a
minute. >> the suez canal, center of controversy for reads, now comes a cause of war and a lighting sequence of diplomatic and military moves. ince its seizure and nationalization by president nasser of egypt, it has precipitated a new crisis in the already tense middle east. french units are embarked at marseille. they are prepared for seizure of the canal by force. simultaneously, britain reinforces its garrison on the island for the same eventuality. a naval concentration in the eastern mediterranean strengthens the military buildup. france and britain issue a 12 our ultimatum that all fighting must cease. within hours of its expiration, britain it works its way to egypt with bombers. brian: at this time, we talked
about the british and the french and israelis and egyptians, what side was america on? michael: let me say, i love these old clips. fantastic. so i've got to take you back a ittle bit, if i could. the united states, from 1953 to 1956, eisenhower tilts in favor of nasser thinking he is going to help him organize all the arabs in the cold war. eisenhower's fear, what he is trying to prevent, is the soviet union coming in, line with the nationalists, undermining the british, and taking control of the oil in the middle east. we cared about the oil because it was 100% of european oil came from the middle east. it was the number one strategic taking control of the oil in issue in the cold war at that time for the united states. we want to make sure we had friendly arab regimes that
>> to absorb and train on these eapons, and then the egyptian army will constitute an existential threat to the israelis. and french are upset supporting north african liberation movements and upporting movements all across the fertile crescent that are trying to oust the british. british, appens is the french and israeli are starting common nize they have a nasse r. gainst nasse ower decides that
rhas been double dealing. help in the cold war but never concludes it. his ill has this image in that support for britain and israel will alienate the the armspush them into of the soviet union. nasser uly of 1956, suez canal. he t's seen as the legacy of europeanism. every agency is impressed by british feel if nasser continue, will -- they turn to eisenhower nd say we need to attack and eisenhower says, no way. e tells the british to give up
the canal. but really, it's just to string get them away from the -- what they had with canal. eisenhower is stringing them along into the summer and fall 1956, the british, french and israelis start to collude with other. what you saw there is the beginning of the conflict, the sraelis attack egypt and the british and the friend issue an ultimatum, and they tell the israelis to the miles from the canal in each direction. pull back 10 s miles, they're inside the sinai in egyptian territory. pull back they're handing egyptian territory to the israelis deep inside their the egyptians, of course, rejected.
that was the plan all along, is and french were trying to create a pretext to attack the israelis. not. re pretending they're it ourse, eisenhower sees immediately. he basically takes the side of nasser. ven though the reality is, he believes he's a blackmailer and absolutely loathed to line up allies against him because he feels it would drive he whole arab world into the arms of the soviet union. that was a long winded answer. seconds. ook at 30 nasser's , what was title at this point? egypt. president of >> and today, egypt has about 90 million people. britain, france, israel, all those in population. was it that way back then? taxing me at e this point. i should know the population of
point. that you know, the exact -- i'm cared to give you an exact number, because i don't have it off the top of my head, but it arab most populous country at that point, by far. >> and still is. yeah. is, but i would guess at that point, 15 or 20 million. but i'm just pulling that out of nowhere. let's see this so we know sounded like. all, we have to deal ith the situation with the israelis. to united states will try nationalists, and the nationalists in this area, i in k people will lose faith
the united states and defeat. clip. is a great i've never seen that clip. and the message is right there. messages are hort the key messages that he sent to the americans when eisenhower came in which convinced him that guy they can work with. he's saying i have a problem imperialism. help me get rid of the british. of me with my standard living and i'll help you keep the communists out. the pitch that we bought. president t w, ruman was for the israeli when the ck in 1948 was not. ne decision hat about eisenhower, was he for it? >> at the time, eisenhower didn't express himself but he in it clear that he was agreement with marshall, as was
he entire u.s. foreign policy elite. administration egarded the truman's recognition and support for israel as one of the strategic blunders in american history. would you advise somebody listening to this, there's so many players in all this. what impact that happened back then has had on what we -- our today with the middle east? well, on many different levels, i think this is the moment when the united states because r the region, we ousted the british and french, basically, and helped nasser. that wasn't the goal but that was the effect of our policy, nasser oust the british and french. so this is the moment when we take over the region and become dominant power in the region. that dynamic,t of
changes his nderstanding completely of what's happening in the region. in and helpedcame oust the british from the canal and the support for nasser in the suez crisis, the theory he was creating space where the arabs and the united states together. ate the united uld see benevolent power. just wanted to keep the soviets that basis, we could modusy vendi. what happened was the actions an opposite result than intended. vacuum in the region by ousting the british
the suez ench, after crisis, you know, the -- i'm sorry. i never told you about what happens after eisenhower opposes french. sh and the he actually brings the british to the brink of economic destruction. quite dramatic. israelis ritish and attack and sinks them in the all the us blocking tankers through the permission canal going through europe. allies in time, his syria blow up the oil pipeline gulf from the permission to the mediterranean. british have no supplies of oil. anthony eden is looking at economic ruin. eisenhower and says, can you give me north american supplies of oil? and eisenhower says not unless get out of egypt immediately
and unconditionally. he says can you at least help me stabilize the markets and eisenhower says not unless you out of the market immediately and unconditionally. so eisenhower stops the war and a huge military and political victory over the and the the french israelis. into a figure er 20 feet tall in arab politics. book, you talk about the importance of the british empire and that this whole war had on them. what they were at that point and why was eisenhower so much against the british empire? know, there's a traditional american ntiimperialism, which you see running through every dministration was there, with roosevelt, you know, and -- but stronger among the republicans than the democrats, interestingly enough. deep, a blicans had a
visceral -- the republican base visceral idea of the base of the british empire but for isenhower, it was really a simple calculation that i its oned earlier, which on face seems absolutely reasonable, that the arabs are in a conflict with the british israelis, and we have taken the side of the british, who are in terrible decline. can't reconstitute the british empire. impossible. they're in terrible decline. the wave of the future is nationalism. we have to find the basis for with the n nationalists. that's totally reasonable. is in trying then to do that, this vacuum was reated, and the soviet union came in with nasser and explo exploited it. soviet union very cleverly -- so in the suez they realized that was serious about stopping his allies and was
brink oftake it to the economic destruction, they against clear threats the british and israelis. basically said, it's a nice you have there. it would be a shame if it was destroyed by nuclear missiles. in the e the impression arab world that it was nasser and the soviet unions who had and the e british french. the american role was all scenes. ut behind the the soviets got all the credit wave of ave a revolutions after the suez risis, kind of like the revolutions we had in 2011 that all benefitted nasser and the soviet union. that's where eisenhower then started to rethink. did you find something in your research that you said, hmm, this is really interesting? i found a number of things surprised me.
evidence of as the this rethinking by eisenhower. isenhower is remembered remembered for the position, in regards to his middle east policy, remembered in the position he took suez crisis, and people remember it as -- people who think israel is a liability of the united states, eisenhower as a president really stood up to the israelis. don't like em peer emperialism. the stance was that he was aggressors. so people who like international the tutions, they liked position he took. nd generally, eisenhower, the historians who likes eisenhower,
every historian who writes about him. ke he's a very likable hour and see him in his finest hour and way it's remembered. came across the evidence regretted what he d i found it interesting. people didn't pay attention to it, partly because steven ambrose, just after nixon died, it up e that nixon made it was steven ambrose made it up. a lot of archival indeed, that suggested, eisenhower really regretted. great passage in the inutes of the meeting of 1958 where dulles is being told by the cia and state department,
what theytill believe is ys believe, that nasser the way of the future and arguments again nd kind of loses it and says nasser is frankenstein's monster. every success he's had is it. se he's taken dulles couldn't say he was a really f israel and he antizionist trongly feelings and i would go so far antisemitic are attitudes. >> this is a sidebar question. this g as i've been in town, forever, there has been a monument to john foster dulles, state, er secretary of called the dulles international airport. dwight no monument to
eisenhower. >> as you know, there's one in the works. >> why did they honor him so far this game and eisenhower as president hasn't gotten any mention? >> it's a great question. i wonder if it was eisenhower himself who might have done that. i don't know. the dulles airport built? do you know? >> i think it was 1962. would have been kennedy then. i really don't know. good question. he died in office, dulles. maybe there was -- and he was a great man. signs of antisemeticism not with standing. >> let's go back. britain and france attacked egypt? >> yes. planes. the was that our aircraft carrier or did it belong to britain or france? know. n't i wasn't watching closely. >> here is dwight eisenhower to the very issue of attack to those three countries.
united states was not consulted in any way about any of these actions. we informed of them. in the circumstances i have no ribed, there will be united states involvement in these present hostilities. therefore, have no plan to call the congress in special session. of course, we shall continue to contact with congressional leaders of both parties. intent that pe and this matter will be brought united nations general assembly. operating, no veto the opinion of the world can be brought to a bear to a just end tormenting problem. >> how much do republicans today ook back and hear him talking so positive about the u.n. go that? ith >> not at all. i don't think they remember it. it was e, the u.n. when created had kind of almost a
religious glow around it. going to be is was the institution that would end authority lot of that lasted well into the 1950s. know, i don't think anyone looks at it today and thinks it will do much worse in that regard. we do a survey every so often on presidents and who's the most popular. eisenhower has moved up in every survey. a couple of weeks ago, he moved out of all 43 ce men that have been president. do you think that's happening? well, it's really interesting hen you go back and look at where he was during office and just after. slesinger, the famous a torian at harvard did survey of american historians in very early 1960s, nd had them rank all of the
presidents. and eisenhower barely made it to mediocre. very bottom of the mediocre. intellectuals. most reporters, educated people regarded eisenhower as adult. compare whating to we have today with president trump. intellectuals were absolutely convinced that eisenhower was a stuffed shirt. here was a book written called the captive hero, and the notion world had been a hero of war ii and however successful he was on the battle field, he was his depth as a president. he was surrounded by all of teiticians like
richard next. a wall street lawyer. these were the guys running the country. isenhower was a, you know, a just a figure, and the people never agreed. always saw a man of great substance and intellect. they read that and over time, documents became available, the historians tarted to see that the people were right and the intellectuals were wrong. there's a popular scientist at who eton called greenstein wrote i book in the 1980s called presidency."hand and this guy was running large and he had a concept of the presidency. it's a mix of the head of state of government.
there's this great symbolic mportance of the presidency, and eisenhower understood that. he let his cabinet be the face of policy. ehind the scenes, he was actually very much in charge of what was going on. i don't know if you remember in there 0s under reagan, was a "saturday night live" program which was hilarious, and based it on this, but reagan would go out in front of the reporters mumbling, out of his depth and confused and behind the scenes, in ould bark out orders different languages and telling everybody what to do. that's closer to the reality of presidency enhower was. the historians explained this, greenstein explained it very clearly for everybody and since then when you go to the ocuments and you see it, it's extremely impressive. > let's take a moment and go into some of your history. where did you grow up?
>> i grew up in indiana. where? > i was born in kokomo, and then lived in carmel. then we moved to southern california for high school. sunny hills high school, for those of you that know it. >> and from there, you went to in college? >> to stanford and grad school in princeton. youhat kind of a degree did get from princeton? >> from princeton, i got a in middle eastern studies. >> was it a ph.d.? >> yes, a ph.d. did you after that? >> i taught at the university of central florida and then they brought me back to princeton. i taught at princeton and the hite house called after 9/11 and said how would you like to work in the white house? do that. no, can't i have to get tenure. focus that had been my until that moment. my nt for a long drive with wife and i kept explaining how i
couldn't go to the white house do. that's what i wanted to did and haven't i looked back. then i worked in the department f defense for two years after being in the white house two years. secretary of ty public defense for diplomacy. the united states doesn't do propaganda. and to the extent it explains to the public, it does the entityomacy, but that is responsible in the government for doing the public diplomacy is the state not the defense department. so the defense department propaganda and public , -- -- diplomacy, so all can do is support. >> go back, you run the national security council staff during
the george h.w. bush years. no -- >> w? i'm sorry. when you watched the trump administration put together their national security council, were you saying to yourself? >> fantastic. when i see rex tillerson and jim attis and mike pompeo, i think these are -- and h.r. mcmaster, i think these are absolutely first-rate people. >> i was really talking about days l flynn in the early of the national security council. what were you saying, having been there? > oh, i think it's unfortunate flynn. pened to general we don't know all the details of what happened, got caught up in russia thing. t's my view that the accusations of donald trump churian candidate of putin is allmir,
nonsense, but i don't think they well. it very clearly, general flynn told mike ence and said things publicly that were incorrect. that was a very bad way to handle it. it's unfortunate. > how big is the national security council? i read it's over 400. to almost aanded it separate arm of government. >> how big? 400. r ut the trump people have contracted it considerably to 120, 130, something like that. number. know the exact >> how big was it when you were there? >> about like that. in the low 100 plus. perspective, having been there, does the national security council, is it necessary? it step on the state department and the defense epartment, and how is that working out? >> it's absolutely necessary.
you can't run the the nment -- you can't run executive branch without it. nd it's the one -- it's the core coordinating mechanism, to make sure that the state department, defense department, cia, are all -- treasury are all rolling in the same direction. that. have to have and you have to have somebody to staff the president on foreign policy. the national security advisor and the president. telephone call to the prime minister of britain. here's has to say what's going on and brief him on it. that ou have to keep just job of keeping everybody moving n the same direction is a monumental job. somebody has got to do it, and the national security council is understands.erybody >> this is a small question. where are the national security housed? taff members >> that was an innocent question innocent. so in the old executive office
building right next to it, the eisenhower building. all there? >> yeah, yeah. national security advisory himself is in the west wing and the deputy national is in the westry wing. security national satisfactory has a tiny little -- you know, there's nothing more valuable than west-wing property, west-wing real estate but the deputy ational security advisory has almost like a closet. have such a small office but it's in the west wing. >> back to your office, who are some of the characters that you into? >> well, the one that fascinated kermit most was roosevelt. it was hard to write about eisenhower. you know, the first three the es of the book tell behind the scenes of a fight
eisenhower. historians skip over those first three years, but they had a huge fight over egypt. public, they were best friends. behind the scenes, they were absolutely at loggerheads. were actually relatively easy chapters to rite, because church hill, you know, churchill documented in prose, his own prose, ever had. ht that he eisenhower is a different kind of guy. he plays it all very close to his chest. so the most interesting things going on with eisenhower are going on in his head and not really documented. problems i hadhe as an author writing the book is as my main character isn't expressive as i want them to be. also, he has these health way. s that get in the o that's a couple of crucial
moments, in the story, he's eally not at the center of the events. but i came across while doing who we rmit roosevelt, all know as the architect of the against the shah of iran in 1953. grandson of was the teddy roosevelt? >> that's right. hat i didn't know was how important a role he played in affairs and key with nasser in this period. white house, the the secretary of state would over an dly hand important account to the cia, never. but that's what happened in 1954. or
john foster dulles was the state and his brother was the head of the cia, and they got along well. allen dulles was the junior partner. he was the younger brother and i hink he was junior in many regards. and they felt dealing with nasser, it was best to do things quiet and ran a lot of the relationship through the cia. nd kermit roosevelt became a key figure in working with and, of course, he was one of the arabists in the state cia rtment -- i mean in the convinced that israel was a liability in the states. it was driving each of the arabs soviet arms of the union and what we had to do was
the relationship and build up the nasser relationship. speaking ee nasser into a camera and saying there's a great relationship we can have and egypt if st y west will just do x and for me, believe me, sitting right off camera is kermit him what to ling say. exploited g, nasser the advent of the transistor extent. n he had a broadcasting capability unlike any other in the middle east. paid for by us? >> paid for by us. >> why? that happen. >> we kind of entered into a catholic marriage with nasser we dated him.
people like roosevelt were so was the that nasser wave of the future and were so personally, him that they believed everything he wanting a good relationship with us. we were certain once we got the hetish out of egypt for him, was going to help us organize the middle east so we started iving him the capabilities to organize the middle east before he'd ever really shown us that that was his true intention. gave him the ability to undermine the west in the region. >> how long did the fighting go back in 1956 in the suez crisis? all, very long at because, you know, this thing as a conspiracy between the british, french and israelis. of israelis land at the end october, right, and the british they didn't ch -- fool anybody, but they thought they were going to by not being minute the scene the israelis landed to
intervene. they gave the ultimatum. and they had to speed across the to cypress. by the time they started bombarding and landing, eisenhower was already totally against them. so they're only fighting for a few days before eisenhower shuts them down. we have a current map of the middle east area and you can see it on the screen. how much has changed? see there some very well known countries this day. suez canal wide open now? an t's wide open and incredibly important artery for the transmission of oil. the sinai? >> the egyptians own the sinai. in israelis took it again 1956. and i didn't tell you that part
of the story. isenhower rolled the israelis out of sinai. ben gorria, the prime minister hopes of holding onto certain parts of it, maybe it. f but eisenhower ruled him out ust like he ruled the british out. the israelis took it in 1967 and as part of the peace deal with carter, they relinquished it. responsible for a lot of it in the beginning. ben gorria, this is from 1956 bbc. he nasser said to me as far as he was concerned, the onditions for peace would be based on the resolutions. how did you react to that? 1947?e u.n. resolutions of >> yes. >> well, those resolutions were a pulse, but all of that space were violated and the armies, in the day it
established. and as we can bring back all of sons and daughters, we can't who died in the battle for independence. >> how does he fit into all of this? how important was he? very important. the heart of the story is really he u.s. and the british relationship. the americans regard the found in l conflict i the administration at the beginning at least as the central issue in the region. i said, kermit roosevelt believed it was that was r israel driving egypt away. the urgent thing to do when it ame to power was to solve the british-egyptian relationship. but the most important thing, ultimately, was to solve the
relationship. n so i think when i look at it, i hink that we misunderstood this, that the real issue was the uestion of -- was question of arab nationalism empirialism, and the thing that the americans otally missed were all the rivalries among the arabs. this is the thing that thing wer -- this is the that really forced eisenhower to have a paradigm shift. he came to realize that if you one arab leader, you have already alienated a bunch because they are locked in conflict with each other. you can't organize -- there's no the arabs. there are different networks of arabs. one, you're owards opposing the other. that's the essence of middle politics. >> king abdula of jordan is one allies, certainly
among the arab countries and here is his father, king hussein, who we were rather those o as a country in days. only hope we can to -- when israel starts to feel and believe that there are in palestine. >> what role was jordan playing and what role does it play now? time, it was, at the was the country that was the closest to britain. its army was called the arab glub , and it was led by pasha, a british officer. the top officers in the entire british. they were borrowed from the british military. legion was paid for entirely by a subsidy that the handed to the jordanians every year.
when i mentioned to you before bout how we didn't realize there were these conflicts between arabs. nasser most wanted, one of his main goals, was to drive the and his ut of jordan, conflict with israel. he was using the conflict with israel. border war going on. foment unrest in jordan, it was a very complicated picture. was d to say that israel the primary concern. he knew very well that nasser as gunning for him and was using the israel question to go after him. >> you mentioned john dulles was an antisemight. was his brother, allen? >> i think so. word 't use the "antisemight" in the book and i very consciously different and saying here, i felt a little uncomfortable about it. antisemitic he had
attitude snoos what about ike? no, i never saw any suggestions. eisenhower simply bought the israel was alienating the arabs. thought it was an interesting question of eisenhower. i don't have this in the book. only presidenthe to have converted religion while in office. 10 days after inauguration he converted to presbyterianism. question.e interesting if you'd ask eisenhower, first wouldn't want to talk about it. he wanted to appear before the american people as a presbyterian. he if you'd have asked him, would have said the family was in fact, his family migrated from to kansas and he had an uncle who was a minninite and everything. actually, his family, mother and jehovah's re witnesses.
go to church, very rarely, from the moment he went o west point until he became president. was he a jehovah's witness? i don't know. the family he grew up in. >> when you did this book deep in the middle east, did you want to write another one on eisenhower? >> you know, i do. not so much on eisenhower but i to write a book about the relationship between religion and foreign policy. started to uncover as i went this a lot of very interesting connections between religious affiliation and towards the middle east and i think it's kind of an unwritten story of our attitudes foreign policy. >> so if you go back to this one, started researching. ow many years from the moment you started reaching. >> this is an unfair question. >> how long was that. my kids, they needle me about this, right. out that this started in 2009 and didn't come out
--what going to take another decade, dad? are your kids, how many? >> two daughters, 13 and 17. left the defense department -- >> actually, my kids are 14 and 17. needle me about that too. >> what year did you leave the pentagon? pentagon on january 20, 2009. >> where did you go. >> briefly to nyu. then i came back to -- i didn't ompletely get this idea of teaching at the university out of my blood stream. then i realized i really wanted and working ington in policy, and i moved to the from ngs institution and brookings to hudson. > an outsider would say those are two entirely different -- i don't know if it's ideaological, looks like it tilts history and the other tilts right. > and my friends at brookings will forgive me, because they
i they don't tilt left but would say they tilt left and hudson tilts right. change? did you > because when i -- both of them have a kind of scholarly bent to them. and so the political affiliation me as the portant to freedom that both institutions give. and so that's what i like about it. and at brookings, the assumption is that every senior fellow at brookings is working on a book. they don't put emphasis on books to the same to do it ifllow you you want. i don't think book writing is all i do. was interested in moving to hudson, because i'm concerned about -- i am conservative, 1, just to kind of -- sort of brand purity that i was dealing with
conservatives, i was at brookings, they were often confused, how could i be conservative. about the cerned future of conservative internationalism, which is what eisenhower represents. to be part of an effort to preserve and define internationalism in this era when we see there's kind of a retraction of american power. what's the number 1 thing about conservative internationalism? >> you mean -- belief? belief. has an ed states indispensable role to play in the world. >> after you get past that, like, more military? >> the military is absolutely -- it's absolutely vital. no -- that is the basis, the fundamental basis, you know, ur economic power and our military power by which we can project our influence. our position of in the world now, militarily
to see that president trump is interested in building up. about the growing alignment between china, iran, and russia. and i think we need to see them s in alignment, and we need to see our role as pushing back against them. >> go to your book, and go back 1956 suez crisis. ou've got soviets in the book, iranians are in the book. you talk about what was it kermit roosevelt that used to go iran. you mentioned that earlier. and i want to put up the 1956 again because it shows a lot of the players that we're ealing with now, including saudi arabia. you can see saudi arabia on the map. all that. o jordan, israel, syria is up at top. how much of what happened hen -- i kind of asked this earlier, but how much of what happened then impacting us today
relationship with the arabs. >> the lesson from the don't put in the book. the history has a certain integrity to it, i thought. to yoke it to a contemporary argument. there's some direct contemporary relevance, and i ee the book as a kind of tacit critique of the obama foreign policy. because i think the dna of obama's foreign policy is the early a that was in the eisenhower foreign policy. egypt in the ute iran in the a for obama era, and if you substitute w. bush muscular foreign imperialism, itish you have all the same attitudes. israel remains israel. so obama wanted to distance
himself from israel. to distance the united states from the george w. bush style of foreign policy. he wanted, importantly, the key thing, to reach out to the opponent of american olicy in the region and convince it that we could put our relations on a new basis. one of the things you didn't see with nasser, that he wants to be good friends with us. that's not what he's saying in his propaganda. o the americans -- the obama administration believed that it could turn the page with iran. iran if not into a partner but at least a country with shared interests in the we could work nd together and i think obama pulled the u.s. back and reached iranians, just like eisenhower, pulled the west back and reached out to egypt and we same result. a same result, we created vacuum in which the iranians and
moved. ians now >> on the propaganda side, you talk about the voice of egypt funded. >> voice of the arabs. >> but they controlled it. we have something now called alhura, which we spent 70, $80 on trying to pump a voice into the middle east. do you think it worked? it does a good job, does. t it i think we shouldn't try to build on that. you know, the world has moved on twitter, and nd actor in the region has a similar tool. so problem, i think, isn't much the particular tool, it's up into a m all coordinated effort. t's sort of -- the magical -- you know, the holy grail is the whole of government effort. so we have our broadcasting
saying one thing, our actions and it just r, sends a mixed message. about your sked you kid. but i didn't ask you about where you met your wife. laughter] >> when? >> i met my wife in the british actually. you must have known this. >> i did not know this. >> really? funny. when i was doing research for my ph.d., which is in the early 1990s, in the british archives, used to hand me my documents. archives.n love in the all the other researchers there thought that -- you know, in they have the 50 year rule and 100 year rule and a 30 rule. meaning according to their freedom of information act, heir public records become available automatically at 30 years. some of them have intelligence sensitive or information they withhold for 50
or 100 years. going re a researcher through these files and you're really into something and hit of card board ce that, you know, this file was withheld because of the 50 year rule. you always feel those were the documents you really needed and all my fellow researchers dating my wife in order to get those documents. >> and i assume she's british? is, yeah. >> so when you say -- when is her name? >> melanie. melanie, i'm ay going to the archives to research, does she get a little nervous? laughter] >> no. don't think -- no, my wife is british by nationality, and she grew up there. italian. ther is so she's italian, you know, thaty, food and everything matters and i think she knows family, e boss in the and how to exercise that control. that name of this book we've